Spontaneous offering yields $4,300 for school lunches
One pastor’s spiritual nudge has led a church to fund 2,000 hot lunches for students who would not otherwise be able to afford one.
Meadowcreek UMC in Collinsville recently donated more than $4,300 to the Collinsville Public School’s Angel Fund, which pays for hot lunches for students who could not otherwise afford them. Though the church’s collection was spontaneous, the desire to help with student lunches was months in the making.
Carri Yount, who leads Meadowcreek’s Partners in Education ministry, said the church called about supporting the fund last year. The church supports the Wilson 6th Grade Center through clean-up projects, providing meals for special events, gifts for teachers and other needs that may arise. Even so, Yount said supporting the Angel Fund was something the ministry had not yet done.
“I think it was just that the dots didn’t connect, so we left it alone and concentrated our efforts on specifically helping that school,” Yount said.
The opportunity presented itself in mid-December 2019 when the school turned to the community to ask for donations to the Angel Fund.
Yount and Meadowcreek’s pastor, Rev. Dr. Mark Whitley, discussed making a $500 contribution through the PIE ministry. On Christmas Eve, however, Whitley said he felt a nudge from the Holy Spirit to ask for a missional offering during that evening’s communion.
“Trusting the nudge, I took a few minutes and set up the offering saying whatever we got 100 percent would go toward the Angel Fund,” Whitley said. “I was hoping we could get a couple hundred to go with the $500, but when we counted the offering that night, we had $3,800. It was a stunning amount of money.”
In total, the church donated $4,323.02. Yount and Whitley presented Child Nutrition Director Michell Janah and Administrative Assistant Emily Garrett with a check after students returned for classes in January.
Yount said the church’s education ministry will continue to be open to what the school needs, including meals for teachers during the upcoming parent/teacher conferences.
Whitley hopes one day to create a designated fund to ensure there’s always money to pay for accrued lunch charges so every student can have a hot meal every day.
“This is what happens when you listen to the nudges of the Holy Spirit and trust how responsive people can be,” Whitley said. “With all the divisiveness that’s going to happen this year, small churches doing big things is still important. It’s still a big part of what it means to be United Methodist.”